ABC’s of Merit Scholarships summary


If you have ever wondered about getting college scholarships, this is The Skinny for you!

Former Tufts and Brandeis University admissions officer Jane S. Shropshire conducted a webinar to train college consultants on the ins and outs of merit scholarships. SocratesPost attended the hour-long session and got The Skinny for our readers curious about paying for college.

Here are some of the questions we got answers to:

  • How do merit scholarships differ from need-based aid?
  • Can I still get scholarships if I’m waitlisted?
  • What types of schools are most likely to give me scholarships?
  • Do I need to apply separately for the funding?
  • Should I apply Early Decision if I’m intent on going to a college that will award me a merit scholarship?
  • Can I take a gap year before starting college and use my scholarship after a year?
  • What are some examples of non-need based scholarships?

Here’s a summary of what we learned from Jane, former admissions dean at Tufts University and admissions committee member at Brandeis:

How do merit scholarships differ from need-based aid?

Merit scholarships are awarded to students for certain accomplishments, usually funded by the college and used as enrollment management tools. They typically don’t take into consideration your or your family’s available resources to pay for college. If, for example, they want more students with top grades or test scores, artistic or athletic talents, or demonstrated leadership, they will offer them more money to come to the school. Need based aid, however, depends on how much money your family is expected to pay for your college education. The total cost of attendance minus your estimated family contribution (EFC) is your financial need.

Can I still get scholarships if I’m waitlisted?

It’s possible, but most waitlist admits do not have good funding because the first-round admits receive the awards first.

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